Carpal Bones Fractures

There are eight carpal bones in the wrist. They can become fractured during sports activities or through other accidents.

Symptoms of Carpal Bones Fractures

A sudden onset of pain occurring in the wrist after a falling accident or direct blow to the area. The pain will usually become more intense when moving the wrist. However, the pain is regularly not reported to a doctor at an early stage due to the minor symptoms, which are interpreted as an unserious result of an incident (e.g. sprained wrist). This can mean that an athlete only seeks treatment when the symptoms have begun to worsen along with the injury, which can lead to a longer recovery process and possible complications. Therefore it is a good idea to see a doctor when experiencing any wrist pain after trauma.

Causes of Carpal Bones Fractures

Carpal bone fractures are usually provoked by a single traumatic incident such as a fall. Falling onto an outstretched hand can prove particularly damaging to the wrist, though falling directly onto the wrist or the back of the hand can also cause a fracture. A hard blow to the wrist is another cause, most often occurring during high speed contact sports or from a projectile (e.g. a ball, bat or club) in many activities.

Medical Treatment for Carpal Bones Fractures

The doctor will be able to perform a physical exam and take an x-ray to find the site of the injury and isolate the fractured carpal bone. X-rays sometimes miss fractures when they have first arisen, so a clear x-ray might be repeated within two weeks in order to make sure there is no fracture. Treatment will depend on the specific injury, but can involve placing the injured wrist in a plaster cast or other suitable method for immobilisation. This helps to prevent the wrist from performing any potentially damaging manoeuvres and allows the fracture time to heal. To this end you should rest as much as possible and refrain from any physical activities or sharp arm movements that could accidentally injure the wrist and impede your recovery.

Some serious carpal fractures require the doctor to perform a reduction soon after the injury is sustained. Surgery can also be necessary, although this is usually reserved for major fractures. Following surgery or during conservative treatment, the doctor may prescribe an analgesic to relieve pain.

Recovery of Carpal Bones Fractures

Your recovery time will depend on the severity of the fracture and how quickly it was treated. For instance, a navicular bone fracture can be particularly troublesome if not caught immediately because of the bone's poor blood supply. This does not facilitate swift or simple healing. A doctor can give you a timescale and allow you to begin a gentle fitness program after the symptoms have diminished. At first this will not primarily involve the wrist; activities like jogging and cycling are used to maintain your fitness level. After your cast has been removed, arm and hand exercises will seek to strengthen the areas so that the injury is less likely to reoccur. From this point it will still be one or two months before sports dependent on stress to the hand and wrist (such as boxing) can be safely attempted.

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